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medical treatmentDrug use and abuse of substances can affect the physical body over time. The reason it is dangerous is due to fluctuations with the heart, issues with the lungs, risks to the brain, and other issues. Mental health can be impacted long term, along with other things. Cellulitis is one condition people may not talk about frequently but it does happen. Find out what it is and how it occurs in people who have an addiction.


Intravenous (IV) Drugs and Cellulitis

Drug addiction happens for a person who is using substances regularly, whether it is hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly. It is more likely they are abusing substances on a consistent basis, several times a week, which puts them at greater risk for infections and autoimmune issues. Even though safe injection practices don’t curb risks altogether, it can help people feel safer. The types of drugs a person uses are very addictive and hard to stop. Here are some factors that may pop up which can cause cellulitis:

  • Unclean skin that is not cleaned or cared for can harbor dangerous bacteria. As a needle pierces the skin during IV injection, any bacteria therein can be carried into the body
  • Type of drugs used matters. Some drugs like heroin and cocaine can increase infection risk
  • Sharing or reusing needles with people may increase the risk of infection


How Cellulitis Develops

Cellulitis is a skin infection of the soft tissue. Staphylococcus aureus is responsible for most infections. A cellulitis is a common form of staph infection, which may be caused by certain strep and oral bacteria. Once they get under the skin, the body’s defenses try to identify what is going on and send white blood cells to fight the bacterial invasion. The infection develops, symptoms emerge, and once it appears the rash expands. Signs of this condition include fatigue, inflammation, blisters, stiff joints, redness,  and warm or painful skin to the touch. Do not ignore symptoms of this infection as it can lead to medical complications, even death. 


Treatment Options

Typically, cellulitis is a medical condition that requires antibiotics. Once the lab tests are done, they may change antibiotics. If pain persists, medication may be prescribed. It is important to relay information to the provider and tell them the truth of what is going on. If they are to help the whole person, they have to know what they’re dealing with. If a person is afraid of being stigmatized for drug use, they may not go seek treatment or go to someone who they trust but does not provide the best quality care for fear of being ‘discovered’ and sent to treatment. 

Treatment is the safest, best option, to keep people from getting re-infected. It is important to build up fluids in the body, rest, and let the body get stronger. The sooner treatment is provided, the better options there are, including addiction recovery treatment for the underlying root causes of the addiction which brought on cellulitis, to begin with. 


The Guest House Ocala helps people with all types of substance and drug use issues. We don’t stigmatize or turn people away for their use. We do help them transform their journey from addiction to hope and healing in recovery. Call us to find out how to get started: 1-855-483-7800